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The Essential Guide to Video Testimonials
- Video testimonials work better than text-based testimonials or online reviews.
- A relaxed, casual atmosphere is ideal for getting an interviewee to provide a high-quality testimonial message.
- Video testimonials can be distributed in a variety of ways and through many types of media.
Video marketing is becoming one of the most dominant tactics for companies as they battle for new customers and repeat business. But it’s not because the medium is advancing rapidly from a technological standpoint. In other words, even though new video equipment, applications and software are constantly hitting the market, the basic format of the videos being produced for companies hasn’t changed much at all.
One of these tried-and-true components of effective video marketing is the customer testimonial. After all, these testimonials are rated as the most effective content marketing tool, and customer input typically increases conversion rates by 74 percent.
Why Testimonials Work
Of course, the concept of customer testimonials has been around the decades. But until fairly recently, these were primarily promoted using text in print ads and/or with still photographs in brochures or similar marketing materials. With video testimonials, viewers can better identify with the person who is on-camera espousing the benefits of a company or its products and services.
As a result, video testimonials foster a stronger level of trust between the viewer and the company. If they can identify with the individual giving the testimonial, they’re more likely to make a connection with the brand. On a more practical level, viewers can learn how a company (or its products) solved a real-world problem for one of its customers; and if they have similar troubles, they’re much more likely to solicit the company’s help.
Searching for Testimonial Candidates
Given the fact that customer testimonials are so valuable and effective, how should your company go about procuring them?
Soliciting testimonials is a bit of an art. To be sure, you don’t want to ask customers to do this right after they’ve begun partnering with your company, and not just anyone will have the on-camera presence that you’re looking for.
A good rule of thumb is to wait a few months before asking a new customer to provide a testimonial. You can also see which customers have proactively reached out to thank your company for their assistance and then reply with a “soft” suggestion about appearing on video. If your company has sales reps, they likely have a good grasp of which customers are the most satisfied, photogenic and eager to sing your company’s praises.
Preparing For a Video Testimonial
After identifying who might be appropriate for video testimonials, reach out to them by email and follow up by phone if they express any interest. Explain to them that you’d love to sit down with them and simply talk about their business and how your company has helped them achieve its goals. Note that the conversation would be recorded on video, and emphasize that the entire chat will be casual and informal. (If possible, arrange for the interview to take place in their office or some other place in which they will feel comfortable.)
Once you find a willing participant, start preparing them for the testimonial itself. Explain the entire process of what will happen on the day of the interview from the production setup to the flow of the conversation. If the person wants to know what will be discussed, you can provide a few sample questions ahead of time; but be sure to stress not to prepare scripted answers. Also, give them advice on what apparel to wear on the day of the interview: solid dark and neutral colors while avoiding red, stripes, or wild patterns.
Relaxed Interviewee = Strong Testimonial
On the day of the shoot, do everything you can to put the interviewee at ease while the video production crew is setting up lighting, audio, and cameras. When the recording begins, start by asking a few general questions about their business; such as when they first started, what they do and why they’re special. This will allow the interviewee to speak about topics they’re familiar with and become more relaxed on camera.
Then you can gradually start asking more relevant questions that relate to your company and how it has helped them improve their business. Examples of these more probing questions may include:
- 1. What issue prompted you to contact our company in the first place?
- 2. What benefits have you noticed since you have partnered with our company (or used its products or services)?
- 3. What do you love the most about working with our company?
- 4. What do you think about our customer service representatives (and/or salespeople)?
- 5. How has your life been simplified (and/or your revenues increased) since your relationship with our company began?
- 6. Why would you recommend our company/product/service to others?
It’s not uncommon for these interview sessions to last a few hours. If you think an answer needs to be repeated for clarity reasons, don’t hesitate to ask. Be sure to get some footage of the person working in their environment to use for cover video—also known as “b-roll”—during editing. Once the interview is over, be sure to send them a heartfelt thank-you note for their time and comments.
Video Testimonial Editing Tips
After you view the raw footage, try to pick out several “soundbites” which are the most compelling and portray your company in the best possible light. If an answer sounds better when stumbles or superfluous phrases are edited out, use b-roll to connect the desired phrases.
Standalone video testimonials should be limited to be 45 and 60 seconds in duration. If the interviewee or the material is exceptionally entertaining or interesting, you can extend the video length to two minutes. Anything longer than that runs the risk of viewers losing interest in the video.
Distributing Your Video Testimonial
Once the testimonial video is edited and finished, what should you do with it? Here are a few ideas:
- Post it on the home page of your website
- Create a “case study” of your site where you can feature it (and others like it)
- Create an email marketing campaign around it
- Post on your company’s social media platforms
- Upload it to your company’s YouTube channel
- Share it with all of your sales personnel and internal marketing teams
- Share it with industry publications and/or local business columnists or publications
- Let it play on a screen or computer in your lobby, store, or window
- Let it play on a screen at a trade show or convention
Last but not least: be sure to send a copy directly to the interviewee. They’ll probably share it with their network as well!
Of course, it’s better to hire a professional video production company to shoot and edit your video testimonial. After all, viewers will associate the quality of the finished product with that of your company and its offerings.
For most companies, referrals are the best way to build a customer base. Think of a video testimonial as a large-scale “referral” of your company by a happy customer to whoever watches the video. Chances are, your video testimonials will become an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.
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